New York’s off-Broadway theaters and comedy clubs are suing the city for an upcoming term. Theaters claim they are unfairly singled out by a policy that requires them to check clients for proof of vaccination.
A small group of venues, which includes Players Theater, West End Artists Company, Soho Playhouse, Broadway Comedy Club, The Actors Temple and others, has filed a lawsuit, Players Theater Management Corp. v. De Blasio, 21-cv-07779, United States District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
Theaters have made the decision to challenge the recently announced Key to NYC program. They claim the mandate is discriminatory because, while it applies to places of entertainment, it does not apply to churches or other places of worship for religious services. Venues claim they are singled out based on the content of speech that theaters and comedy clubs host for more restrictive treatment.
The mandate, which was announced in August, applies to indoor restaurants, gymnasiums, cinemas, concert halls and theaters, states that employees must check with customers for proof of at least one dose of the vaccine. to enter. The mandate most likely excluded churches from the list of spaces due to First Amendment laws.
Bloomberg reported that the owners are saying, “For small theaters and comedy clubs like the plaintiffs, enforcing this unequal mandate is onerous and further stigmatizes businesses that are already struggling to bounce back after being shut down for a year. . ” The mayor’s office was not available for comment.
With cases of the delta variant of the coronavirus in New York City, many see proof of vaccination as the only route to reopen, especially with 70% of eligible Manhattan residents already vaccinated. With the news of Broadway returning with a fully vaccinated audience, many would assume other venues would quickly adopt similar policies in New York City, but this lawsuit seems to suggest otherwise.